Volunteer Stories

Volunteer Viewpoint

When I tell people I am a volunteer at the Langley Hospice Society they always ask: “what do you do there?” When I introduce myself to a new resident and/or their families they always want to know what the volunteers do. There is the explanation that volunteers will help in any way they can – make coffee and tea, do dishes, sit with people, play cards, talk, listen, hold a hand, and give tours or whatever needs to be done. What I would really like to tell people is what volunteers do is give thanks and be grateful. We are thankful that residents and/or family members will let us into their lives. We are grateful that they will turn to us when they need someone to talk to. We are thankful that they allow us to be with them at this crucial time in their lives. We are grateful they make us feel needed and welcome. We are grateful when they are thinking about the end of life and they share their wisdom with us about what is really important in life. We are thankful when we are there for...

Volunteering with the Children’s Group

Personal experiences and dealing with loss has enabled me to become a hospice volunteer for the past 2.5 years. The grieving journey was sometimes difficult and confusing. I am grateful to be able to share my knowledge and understanding with others as I continue to learn and experience new things. While supporting grieving clients, I have discovered the inner strength of human beings as they struggle through the processes of their personal journeys. During these fragile times, I feel honored to be welcomed into the clients' lives as support through listening, reflecting and learning. "What makes our group so special?" It is most important that children also receive guidance as they grieve for the loss of someone they love. I have been volunteering with the children's groups and am currently facilitating a group of younger children. What an amazing program we have for them! Sharing their stories, feeling the feelings, remembering the special things about the person they loved provides...

A Spiritual Journey of the Heart and Soul

“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh If you are familiar with the Langley Hospice Society, there is a strong possibility that you have also heard of Thornton Smith. As one of our esteemed volunteers of the past fifteen years, Thornton has participated in and supported a variety of services and events. From serving as a past treasurer of our Board of Directors, to providing support in palliative and bereavement settings, and more recently, participating in the creation of our beautiful children’s garden – it is not exaggerating to state that Thornton has done it all. Thornton attributes his interest in volunteering to when he first began to lend his support at a residential home for the physically disabled in England. After he moved to Canada and created a lovely family, Thornton began to serve on our Board of Directors...

My Hospice Volunteering Experience

In 2002, I spent a month with my sister in a Duluth, Georgia Hospice. Gail was diagnosed with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (rare, degenerative brain disorder) in mid-July and died in September. We shared a room growing up, as young women before we married and shared a room on her final journey. We had gone full circle. The Hospice was a warm caring environment for all family members and patients. It was this experience with my sister that eventually led me to look into what I could do for hospice here in Langley. I became a Hospice volunteer almost 6.5 years ago; I started off by helping with the newsletter. Then when a sewing group started, I was asked to join, although at the time I was not a sewer. I took sewing lessons and then quilting lessons. We make quilts for children going through the grieving process. When a child goes through bereavement support, either individually or in a group, he/she receives a comfort quilt at the end of their program. I also help out with...

Why Do You Volunteer At The Hospice Residence? A Personal Perspective

When I began volunteering at the Residence about 1½ years ago, I very quickly became aware of how often the question is asked: “Why do you do this type of work?”  Well, the answer is simple, isn't it? Actually no, it is not that simple; at least I believe it is not easy for most. Initially I was a little flummoxed for an appropriate and honest answer to the question. Simply to say something along the lines of “I like to help and talk to people” or to respond in some similar fashion seemed a superficial answer that lacked substance and did not give a comprehensive explanation. I pondered the question, and still do so to some extent, because our lives are an evolving sequences of experiences, observations and events that over time influence and shape and may change our perspectives, thoughts and opinions. As anyone knows who is involved with hospice work of any type, it is one of the greater privileges in life to become a confidante to someone who is experiencing end-of-life or with an...

A Poem about the Hospice Thrift Store

YOU should come and visit us in our Hospice Store It might be secondhand to you but you'll find so much more Nice clothes, dishes, pots and pans, Toys for boys and girls Hats, gloves and jewellery MAYBE even pearls Listen to the volunteers, all friends, working and having fun There are so many things to do - the work is never done So bring a friend and spend some time strolling through our store, And you will find it is really so, so MUCH MORE… Gerry Jarvis Thrift Store Volunteer

You Volunteer at Hospice?!

You volunteer at Hospice?!! Isn't that depressing??? These are statements that I hear often. To me volunteering at Hospice is an honour. Do I find it depressing? Absolutely not!! It is an honour to be part of one's journey. Life has a beginning, middle, and an ending. There are no exceptions. As a volunteer I become part of the final journey. It is not my place to grieve, for their death is not my personal loss. It is my place to provide comfort, a listening ear and a gentle touch. It is my place to be available for family members - to provide a hug when requested and a hand to reach out and hold while they express their sorrow and loss. To the dying I am available with a smile and undivided attention. I listen to stories of lives lived, the challenges fought and won or lost, the joys of family and accomplishments and the sorrow of mistakes and missed opportunities. The dying share thoughts that they need to speak of, to release burdens they have carried and cannot divulge to their...

So Why Am I Here?

Recently, when another volunteer discovered that I live a 30 - minute drive away from the Langley Hospice store, she commented to me that “there must be something closer to your home that you could volunteer at instead of the Hospice”. So, why am I here? Three years ago, my sister-in-law’s Mom, Isabel, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After several weeks of home care in my brother and sister-in-law’s home, Isabel was moved to the hospice care facility in Chilliwack. When I went to visit her, I was so impressed, the facility was beautiful! It looked like Barb and Gerri had put their own personal decorating touch on each room. The great room with its kitchen/dining and sitting area was amazing! How could a person feel so comfortable in a place where so many had come to spend their last days on earth. The care givers were unbelievable. I don’t know how they do it, day after day. Patient after patient. And, now, when I hear Pat (from our linen area) comment on a happening from her...

Helping One Another

While doing my volunteer work at the hospice residence, I recently spent the better part of my shift visiting with a very discontented patient, whose health seemed to be getting worse day by day. This particular evening was a very lonely one for him – no visitors – and when he asked me to stay and talk, I naturally complied. Our conversation started about his family and as he talked, he began to act worried and distressed. I encouraged him to talk it out and very rapidly the conversation progressed into an intimate sort of emotional confession regarding his grown son. He had disowned this son over thirty-five years ago, and explained to me the circumstances leading up to their conflict. He knew he was going to die soon, and he wanted to see his son one last time, tell him how sorry he was and how much he loved him. He told me, several times, that it was his dying wish to do this. At first, I felt a reluctance to get involved in the “Family Dance”, but I was very emotionally moved by...

A Volunteer’s Perspective on Second Story Treasures – “The Store”

Volunteering at Second Story Treasures has made a tremendous difference in my life. I feel a real connection to the community and I've gained immeasurably from the support I've received from my fellow volunteers. We are a team - and it feels like "family". Our thrift store relies on members of the community to bring us "good stuff" that they no longer use. Our team sorts-tests-steams-packages-polishes and hangs the donations for sale in our store. Through this effort we are able to provide quality items at low cost to those who are on limited budgets. As well, we often have unique items that are either collectibles or conversation pieces. We have been known to harbour unique "treasures". The proceeds of our efforts fund Langley Hospice. If you have thought about volunteering in the community, check us out. Our operation is very organized and therefore, very productive. We complete every shift with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction - well, almost every one!!! Being part of...

SECOND STORY TREASURES THRIFT STORE

Store hours:

Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Donations of gently used clothing and household items may be dropped off:

Monday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Tuesday - Friday, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

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Events

Supportive Steps Walking Group

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